Young Jolyon also was silent; he had quickly penetrated his father’s thought, for, dethroned from the high seat of an obvious and uncomplicated view of things, he had become both perceptive and subtle.
The attitude he had adopted towards sexual matters fifteen years before, however, was too different from his father’s. There was no bridging the gulf.
He said coolly: “I suppose he’s fallen in love with some other woman?”
Old Jolyon gave him a dubious look: “I can’t tell,” he said; “they say so!”
“Then, it’s probably true,” remarked young Jolyon unexpectedly; “and I suppose they’ve told you who she is?”
“Yes,” said old Jolyon, “Soames’s wife!”
Young Jolyon did not whistle: The circumstances of his own life had rendered him incapable of whistling on such a subject, but he looked at his father, while the ghost of a smile hovered over his face.
If old Jolyon saw, he took no notice.
“She and June were bosom friends!” he muttered.
“Poor little June!” said young Jolyon softly. He thought of his daughter still as a babe of three.
Old Jolyon came to a sudden halt.
“I don’t believe a word of it,” he said, “it’s some old woman’s tale. Get me a cab, Jo, I’m tired to death!”
They stood at a corner to see if an empty cab would come along, while carriage after carriage drove past, bearing Forsytes of all descriptions from the Zoo. The harness, the liveries, the gloss on the horses’ coats, shone and glittered in the May sunlight, and each equipage, landau, sociable, barouche, Victoria, or brougham, seemed to roll out proudly from its wheels:
‘I and my horses and my men you know,’ Indeed the whole turn-out have cost a pot. But we were worth it every penny. Look At Master and at Missis now, the dawgs! Ease with security—ah! that’s the ticket!
And such, as everyone knows, is fit accompaniment for a perambulating Forsyte.
Amongst these carriages was a barouche coming at a greater pace than the others, drawn by a pair of bright bay horses. It swung on its high springs, and the four people who filled it seemed rocked as in a cradle.
This chariot attracted young Jolyon’s attention; and suddenly, on the back seat, he recognised his Uncle James, unmistakable in spite of the increased whiteness of his whiskers; opposite, their backs defended by sunshades, Rachel Forsyte and her elder but married sister, Winifred Dartie, in irreproachable toilettes, had posed their heads haughtily, like two of the birds they had been seeing at the Zoo; while by James’ side reclined Dartie, in a brand-new frock-coat buttoned tight and square, with a large expanse of carefully shot linen protruding below each wristband.
An extra, if subdued, sparkle, an added touch of the best gloss or varnish characterized this vehicle, and seemed to distinguish it from all the others, as though by some happy extravagance—like that which marks out the real ‘work of art’ from the ordinary ’picture’—it were designated as the typical car, the very throne of Forsytedom.